In order to protect your new invention or technical development you should consider applying for a patent. A patent offers legal protection against other parties copying your idea.
But there are a number of key steps that need to be followed, in order to ensure the patent is correctly filed, and the product or process is correctly described, in order to afford maximum protection in a court of law. As is often the case, a modest investment at the outside in using the services of an intellectual property or IP lawyer who is a specialist in this field, could pay substantive disputes.
To begin with the invention or technical development should be described in detail, but it should only refer to one item in particular or if it does refer to a succession of items that should together make a whole. The description used must explain the way in which the process works or the product is used and must be quite detailed. Once your application is made, it will be published in an official journal for the inspection of others; There is an independent process by which people can make an objection and certain grounds by which they can do so.
Once lodged, a patent application goes through three stages: examination as to form, search, and examination as to substance. Many aspects of the patent run from the filing date, since the often used phrase "patent applied for" on new products, which give any would-be copiers the clear warning that here is a product likely to have full legal protection before too long; Technically, this is called the "right of priority".
The application as to form will check that all descriptions and other technical representations are correct. A search is then transported out to ensure that the patent application does not cross over into other, existing patents or registered products or processes – in other words checking that this is an original idea. The final stage ensures that the description is the best it can be for the task, and at this point there may be recommendations to amend the description to provide better protection, or to prevent any confusion with another, similar but different patent already registered.
With the support of a specialist IP lawyer, it will be possible to pass through these stages with few hold-ups, and proceed to the all-important point where a patent is actually granted – certainly a practical decision for anyone who has thought of a Brand new idea.